Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Jörundgaard (jor-ewnt-GAYRD). Manor and farm inherited by Kristin Lavransdatter’s mother. The farm is located in Sel, a central Norwegian region northwest of Lillehammer, where Undset herself spent much of her life and where she died. Although Kristin was born at her father’s manor at Skog near Oslo, she spends her early life and a significant part of her adult life at Jörundgaard. Jörundgaard and its master, Kristin’s father Lavrans Björgulfsön, who is deeply rooted in his lands, family, and the Roman Catholic religion, represent the patriarchal religious life against which Kristin rebels and to which she eventually returns.

Surrounding Jörundgaard are hills, dales, forests, and streams that Kristin enjoys exploring. Catholicism is so intimately connected with Jörundgaard that visiting a church is like traveling into the mountains. The church is also where Kristin’s arranged marriage to a neighbor’s son is to take place because Lavrans wants to join his and his neighbor’s estates. Troubled in heart, Kristin asks her father to let her go to a nunnery, where their shared hope is that she will regain her peace of mind.


*Oslo. Large port city on the southeastern coast of Norway where Kristin meets the love of her life, Erlend Nikolaussön at a fair. Instead of isolating Kristin from her troubles, the nearby convent of Nonneseter compounds them. The piety of convent life is no match for the passion promised by this knight of the north. Oslo becomes the scene of their sins and deceptions, though Kristin is eventually able to overcome the objections of her family to marry Erlend at Jörundgaard.


(The entire section is 702 words.)